Thomas Bach, former Olympic gold medalist, is new IOC president

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“But in order to fulfill our role to make sure that in the Olympic Games and for the participants the Charter is respected, we have to be strictly politically neutral. And there we also have to protect the athletes,” he said.

A former Olympic fencing gold medalist who heads Germany’s national Olympic committee, Bach is the ninth president in the 119-year history of the IOC. He’s the eighth European to hold the presidency.

Of the IOC’s leaders, all have come from Europe except for Avery Brundage, the American who ran the committee from 1952-72.

Bach is also the first gold medalist to become IOC president. He won gold in team fencing for West Germany in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

He received a standing ovation for nearly a full minute after Rogge opened a sealed envelope to announce his victory. Bach bowed slightly to the delegates to acknowledge the warm response and thanked the members in several languages.

“This is a really overwhelming sign of trust and confidence,” Bach said.

“I want to be a president for all of you,” he told the members. “This means I will do my very best to balance well all the different interests of the stakeholders of the Olympic movement. This is why I want to listen to you and to enter in an ongoing dialogue with all of you. You should know that my door, my ears and my heart are always open for you.”

Bach was viewed as the favorite because of his resume: former Olympic athlete, long-serving member of the policy-making IOC executive board, chairman of the legal commission, head of anti-doping investigations and negotiator of European TV rights.

“It is what I and many of the others had anticipated,” said IOC member Prince Albert of Monaco. “I think it was very clear. You can’t argue with his experience and his leadership and his great knowledge about the Olympic movement and the world of sports, and also the outside world. I think we are getting a great president.”

Bach was elected to an eight-year term. In 2021, he would be eligible to run for a second and final four-term term.

Bach presented the 71-year-old Rogge with the IOC’s highest award, the Olympic gold order.

After awarding the 2020 Olympics to Tokyo and bringing wrestling back into the games, the IOC completed the last of its three critical votes — choosing the person to lead the body for the most powerful job in international sports.

Bach’s supporters had hoped for a first-round win, but a second-round victory still showed that he had a big base of support.

Carrion, who chairs the IOC’s finance commission and negotiates lucrative U.S. TV rights deals, wound up being Bach’s only serious challenger.

The votes fell off after that with Ng Ser Miang of Singapore getting six, Denis Oswald of Switzerland five and Sergei Bubka of Ukraine four. C.K. Wu of Taiwan was eliminated in the first round after an initial tie with Ng as low vote-getter.

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